When it comes to marathon training there are very few things that you could really consider as heavenly mid-session. I mean it is great when you are warmed-up and on the open road or at the very beginning of a fast tempo. And nothing quite beats the satisfaction of a training session done and done well. However, 5 miles in with 15 to go or into your second 800 of 8, you often find yourself having to grit teeth and stay moving.
There is one thing however that can be the closest thing to sporting luxury for its entire duration and that is the sports massage. While there is never a bad time to get a sports massage (though obviously not on the day of or immediately before a race or tough session) perhaps the most satisfying period to get one is mid-taper. Having put in the hard miles, the tough evenings and early mornings the sports massage is a perfect tonic and reward for the tough training being completed. That said there are two very different types of sports massage.
The first is the sports massages that are delivered by men and women who go by the nicknames such as ‘the Grip’, ‘Knuckles’, ‘Claws’ or ‘Iron Fists’. During these sessions they will manipulate/maul your muscles to such an extent that half-way through you won’t know if the towel they gave you is to rest your head on or to bite into. While occasionally required, especially for when your muscles are tense and in need of unknotting, they are generally feck all craic.
The other sports massage however is the one where the masseuse gives a thorough rub that, though firm, relaxes the muscles to a state of such luxury that they would happily sign over the deeds off the house along with the last three digits on the back of your credit card.
While the tenseness of your muscles will determine which massage you will need, I would, all things being equal, go for the latter.